Vacation Guide to Southwest Florida

Fort Myers Beach Parks

Located on Estero Island, Fort Myers Beach is a little piece of heaven filled with family-friendly resorts, safe beaches, Gulf-side seafood restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.

While many parts of Southwest Florida are quite developed, there are also lots of little pockets where the wild spaces have been preserved close to their natural state. This means that Fort Myers Beach offers both the benefits of thriving civilization while also allowing you to bird watch, collect shells, and listen to the waves washing upon the shore.

Are you looking for Fort Myers Beach parks to incorporate into your vacation itinerary?

Let’s take a look at some of the best parks in Fort Myers Beach. To learn more about each location, simply click on the red location pin.

Bowditch Point Park

Bowditch Point Park is a 17.5-acre facility where you can find a bathhouse, a village deck for group gatherings, and a boardwalk that leads you to the beach and a picnic area. This tranquil park has trails and gorgeous, scenic views.

This is an incredibly beautiful beach park that is accessible for all. Here you can wander the beach or the trails, watch dolphin play, and experience all of the wonderful native wildlife of Southwest Florida’s coast.

You can rent canoes, fishing equipment, bikes, and kayaks here. Open year-round from dawn to dusk, this park is also a drop-in point for the Great Calusa Blueway.

San Carlos Maritime Park

This is a small park located on San Carlos Island. It’s worth noting ahead of time that this is a pretty bare-bones space, with a path but no features or benches. More of a nature preserve than a park, there isn’t much in the way of parking here.

This park is only a short walk from Ebb Tide RV Park and Oyster Bay RV Park.

Lynn Hall Beach Park

If you look at Fort Myers beaches reviews online, you’ll find that Lynn Hall Beach Park is a very popular spot right in the heart of downtown. This is a lively Gulf-front park that is adjacent to all the best restaurants and shopping.

There are plenty of recreational opportunities here, including a fishing pier, a bathhouse, picnic shelters, and a playground in Fort Myers Beach.

Since this is such a popular place, you might not be surprised to learn that parking can be limited. You can avoid driving around endlessly looking for a spot by showing up earlier in the morning.

Fort Myers Beach Palm Ave Access #30

This is a Fort Myers Beach access point that has gorgeous nice white sugar sand, proximity to a lot of restaurants, and a clean environment. At this location, there are no bathrooms or other amenities.

Matanzas Pass Preserve

At Matanzas Pass Preserve, you’ll find nearly 60 acres of wildlife sanctuary that is completely unspoiled. Located only one mile south of Matanzas Pass Bridge in Fort Myers Beach, this is one of the only protected and undeveloped areas on the island of Estero.

This is a rare opportunity to get a glimpse of what Estero Island was like before it became such a popular beach destination. There are four natural plant communities that live in the preserve, which are the black mangrove forest, tidal swamp, maritime hammock, and coastal grassland.

You’ll find a wide variety of native plants here as well as a wide variety of diversity. There are a lot of opportunities to learn here, including taking tours led by an ethnobotanist, stress detox tours, volunteer training, and more.

Newton Park

This is a small park right on the beach that is something of a hidden gem. Newton Park on Fort Myers Beach is well maintained and not nearly as populated as some of the other beaches, particularly if you get there early.

Whether you sit in the sun or at one of the picnic tables under the shading tiki hut, this is a lovely spot to enjoy views of the beautiful Gulf.

Eagle Trail

Eagle Trail is a trailhead located in Lovers Key State Park. A loop trail that stretches for 2.6 miles, you’ll find that this is an easy hike that is accessible to hikers of all skill levels. This lightly trafficked trail is used mostly for walking, bird watching, fishing, and nature trips.

This trail winds through inlets of Hickory Bay and mangroves, offering a great opportunity to view local fauna and bird-watch. This is a relaxing and easy way to walk around the water.

You are allowed to bring your dog here, but they must stay on leash at all times. It’s also worth noting that there is a fee to enter Lovers Key State Park which are charged per vehicle or by person if you are entering by bike or foot.

Black Island Trail Head

This is a trail that is located in Lovers Key State Park. Good for all skill levels, this path features a river and follows along the canals.

Black Island Trail Head is mostly used for running, walking, bird watching, and nature trips. Accessible all year long, dogs are welcome but must be kept on leash.

There is a fee to enter Lovers Key State Park. The fees are charged per visitor if you are traveling by bike or on foot and by vehicle if you drive here.

Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve

This was the first aquatic nature preserve established in the state of Florida. An expansive 10,000-acre state park, the preserve stretches along ten miles of Estero Bay and consists of inlets, islands, and the water.

You can access the preserve in Estero by the Estero River Scrub entrance or in Fort Myers at the Winkler Point entrance. Here you can enjoy the variety of native vegetation and wildlife while hiking the uplands of the preserve.

In some areas, the trails can flood seasonally and they are quite rugged year round. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make sure you bring plenty of water and insect repellent while also wearing sturdy footwear.

You can bring your dog along for the hike as long as you pick up after them and keep them on a leash that is six-feet long or shorter.

Lovers Key State Park

Located on the barrier islands of Lover’s Key, Inner, Black Island, and Long Keye, Lover’s Key State Park is 712 acres that was once only accessible by boat. This area was once destined to be developed into luxury condos but was luckily donated so locals and visitors alike can enjoy it’s gorgeous mangrove forests and beaches.

Whether you want to lounge on the shore under an umbrella or explore the park via kayak, this is a pristine location that gives you a taste of Southwest Florida before it developed. While you’re here, you might get to see dolphins, manatees, shorebirds, and osprey. This is a popular spot for gulf-side weddings because of its serene and natural beauty.

Lovers Key Beach

Lovers Key Beach is a part of Lovers Key State Recreation Area that is about a fifteen-minute drive from Fort Myers Beach if the traffic is light. Before 1965, people could only reach the beaches on these barrier islands by boat. Nowadays, a bridge connects the islands to the mainlands making it much more accessible.

This beach fronts the Gulf of Mexico, offering incredible opportunities for boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, or simply lounging in the sun. There are also more than five miles of multi-use trails in the park that can be used to bike, hike, run, or walk.

Lee County Parks & Recreation Dog Beach

There is something really special about letting your dog run free on the beach and giving them the opportunity to play with other pups. However, this area is a tidal flat and subject to outgoing and ingoing tides, meaning that you should plan your trip accordingly.

As far as amenities go, there is a doggie shower station so you can rinse your dog off when they’re tired out and ready to go home. While there aren’t restrooms here, there is a portable toilet. It’s also important to pick up after your dog, as uncollected waste can wash into the waterways and increase unhealthy bacteria in the environment.

Bonita Beach Park

Technically located in Bonita Springs, Bonita Beach Park is less than a half an hours drive from Fort Myers Beach. Open from dawn to dusk, this is a gorgeous beachfront park located on the southern tip of Bonita Beach.

Here you can play volleyball, eat lunch under one of the picnic shelters, or let your kid explore the playground.

Lighthouse Beach Park

About a half an hour drive from Fort Myers Beach, Lighthouse Beach Park is located on the eastern tip of Sanibel Island. You can find gorgeous seashells here to take home as souvenirs or you can simply enjoy them while you walk the beach. At this park, you’ll find a historic lighthouse situated on a beautiful white sand beach.

Wa-Ke Hatchee Recreation Center

This Fort Myers recreation center is packed full of amenities including basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, trails for hiking, and much more. Here you’ll also find a dog park, picnic areas, a workout room, and a playground.

Lakes Park

Located just south of Fort Myers along Gladiolus Drive, the central feature of this park is the 158 acres of man-made freshwater lakes. The park itself sprawls across 279 acres and includes a fragrance garden, a scenic boardwalk, a large field for recreational activities, and playgrounds.

This park goes above and beyond with a train museum and even a train ride. Complete with splash pads, bike rentals, a farmers market, and rentable paddleboats, this spot goes above and beyond your typical neighborhood park.

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